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Utah Looks To Ban "Holding Therapies"
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
March 5, 2002

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH--Ten-year-old Candace Newmaker, a girl with learning disabilities, died in April 2000 while undergoing what is called "rebirthing" therapy. It's a practice in which a person, after a certain amount of preparation, goes through a re-enactment of birth in order to emotionally bond with a parent or parent figure. Trained therapists cover the individual in a sheet and hold the person with pillows with enough resistance to make the experience more realistic.

In Candace's case, the therapists and their assistants held the girl too tight for too long until she died.

Her death led the state of Colorado to ban the use of "rebirthing" therapies.

Now a bill approved by Utah's state House would ban the practice in that state as well. It would also ban other less intrusive "holding therapies".

Representative Mike Thompson said any form of restraint therapy can cause emotional harm that will only further traumatize a child.

"This is pain and suffering," Thompson said. "This is not love. This is therapy that gets a child so scared that they supposedly bond to the person who they believe saves them from it. This therapy is dangerous. Children are dying and being hurt and bruised by it."

According to Tuesday's Deseret News, one reason for the proposal that now moves to the state Senate for approval, is that a number of therapists in Utah have been contacted by families who can no longer get the treatment in neighboring Colorado.

The paper reported that most therapists oppose "holding therapy", saying it goes against what it is trying to promote -- trust with a parent. They say it can be immensely difficult for a child to develop full, genuine trust after being forcibly held, regardless of the good intentions.

Candace Newmaker: Death Through "Rebirthing" Therapy (Inclusion Daily Express Archives)

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